Ted Poe

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Ted Poe
Ted Poe Official.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Jim Turner
Personal details
Born Lloyd Poe
(1948-09-10) September 10, 1948 (age 70)
Temple, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carol Poe
Residence Humble, Texas, U.S.
Alma mater Abilene Christian University, University of Houston
Occupation Attorney, judge
Religion Church of Christ
Website Campaign website
Ted Poe on Twitter
Military service
Service/branch  United States Air Force
Years of service 1970–1976
Unit Air Force Reserve Command emblem Reserves

Lloyd "Ted" Poe (born September 10, 1948) is a Republican politician currently representing Texas's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The district includes many eastern and northern Houston suburbs. He is the first Republican to represent the Texas 2nd.

Early life

Poe was born in Temple, Texas but attended Spring Woods High School in Houston. Poe now lives in Humble, Texas. Poe graduated in 1970, with a degree in political science from Abilene Christian University, where he served as class president. In 1973 he graduated with a juris doctor degree from the University of Houston Law Center. He participated in the school's honor society. From 1970 to 1976, he served in the United States Air Force Reserve’s C-130 Unit at Houston’s Ellington Air Force Base.

Judicial career

After serving as a chief felony prosecutor in Harris County (Houston) for eight years, Poe was appointed a felony court judge in Harris County in 1981, becoming one of the youngest judges in the State of Texas. In this position, he gained national prominence for his unusual criminal sentences that included ordering thieves to carry signs in front of stores from which they stole.[1] However, in at least one case, Poe amended the sentence afterwards without notifying the victim's family.[2]

Elections to United States Congress

In November 2004, Poe ran for the U.S. House in the 2nd District. The district had previously been the 9th, represented by four-term Democrat Nick Lampson. However, as the result of a controversial mid-decade redistricting, the new 2nd was considerably more Republican than the old 9th. It lost Galveston and the area around the Johnson Space Center, while picking up several heavily Republican areas around Houston. Poe won 55% of the vote to Lampson's 43%. While Lampson trounced Poe in Beaumont and Port Arthur, Poe swamped Lampson in the Harris County portion of the district.[3]

Poe made border security a centerpiece of his re-election strategy, calling for "more [National] Guardsmen on the border front".[4] On November 7, Ted Poe handily won a second term against Democrat Gary Binderim, a water utility manager and community activist,[5][6] and Libertarian Justo Perez.[7][8]

Poe defeated Libertarian Craig Wolfe[9] in his campaign for re-election in 2008.

Committee assignments

In addition to Poe's committee assignments, he is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus.[10][11] Since 2012, he has been the head of the Congressional Serbian Caucus.[12] He is also a member of the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus.

Political positions

Ted Poe speaking at a Tea Party in Texas in 2009


Poe is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[13]


Poe received a 0 rating from abortion rights group NARAL in 2007, and rating of 100 from the National Right to Life Committee in 2007–2008.[14] He also voted for the Prohibiting Federal Funding of Abortion Services amendment on November 7, 2009.[15]

Fiscal policy

In 2008, the National Taxpayers Union, an organization that supports "lower taxes and smaller government", gave Poe the grade B+, and in 2007 received a rating of 90 from the group Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that advocates "taxes [that] are simpler, [and] flatter".[16] Poe voted against the 2009 Economic Stimulus Package (HR 1) and the 2010 Concurrent Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13).[17] The Club for Growth PAC gave him a power ranking of 85.85%.[16]

Healthcare reform

Poe does not support what he calls "government run health care".[18] Poe voted "Nay" on the Health Care and Insurance Law Amendments bill on November 7, 2009.[19] In 2008 Poe voted for the Medicare Bill (HR 6331).[19] Poe supports healthcare reform that would "Allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, provide for a safety net for catastrophic injury or illness…and allow for a health savings account".[20]


Poe is an advocate of stronger action against illegal immigration and increased security on the Mexico–United States border.[21] He voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and against the DREAM Act when it was introduced in 2010.[22] More recently, he opposed the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, calling it "an imperial decree to unilaterally ignore portions of the immigration law of the land".[23] He is the sponsor of the Deport Foreign Convicted Criminals Act of 2011 (H.R. 3256), which would provide for denial of immigrant and non-immigrant visas to nationals of countries which have "refused or unreasonably delayed repatriation" of persons ordered deported from the United States.[24]

Human trafficking

Poe introduced the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2013 (H.R. 3530; 113th Congress), a bill that would authorize the appropriation of $25 million annually over the 2015-2019 period for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide grants to states and other recipients aimed at improving the enforcement of laws against human trafficking and to assist victims of such crimes.[25] According to newspaper The Hill, the bill would "impose an additional fine of $5,000 on any person convicted of crimes related to sex trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children or human smuggling."[26] Some experts say that there are as many as 300,000 cases of sex trafficking in the United States a year, with potentially 25 percent of them having a connection to Texas in some manner.[27] The bill was scheduled to be voted on in the House on May 20, 2014 under a suspension of the rules.[26]


As a state judge, in November 2002, Poe ruled that he would permit the PBS documentary show Frontline to videotape jury deliberations of a capital murder case.[28] There was considerable concern that this would affect the result of the trial, possibly by skewing the composition of the jury, and the decision was appealed by Harris County prosecuters.[29][30] The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state's highest criminal appellate court, ruled against Poe's decision and prohibited the videotaping.[31]

On May 7, 2007, while speaking on the floor of the house, Poe used a quote from Civil War Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest when describing the military strategy that Poe felt the United States should have followed in Iraq. Forrest's maxim was to: “Git thar furstest with the mostest.” The controversy lies in the personal history of General Forrest; after his military duty was over, he became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (though soon after called for the Klan to disband). Some critics have stated that despite quoting Forrest for a discussion on military strategy and not on race relations, it was still highly inappropriate for Poe to quote such a divisive figure.[32][33][34][35]

On June 7, 2009, Poe signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1503, the bill introduced as a reaction to conspiracy theories which claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen.[36] On July 23, 2009, he appeared on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight in which he claimed that Certifications of Live Birth issued by Hawaii State Department of Health cannot be used to obtain a U.S. passport, which is untrue.[37][38][39][40] His support of H.R. 1503 and public advocacy for it earned him a negative editorial in the Houston Chronicle.[41]

In August 2011 AlterNet reported that Poe, along with John Culberson and Michael McCaul, was attempting to remove the right of deceased soldiers families to choose which prayers, if any, were to be read at a soldier's funeral.[42][43] The three politicians were said to be attempting to impose Christian ceremonies on the military funerals of everybody who has served in the military, regardless of whether or not the deceased was Christian and with or without the consent of the family of the deceased. The three politicians stated their demands were a response to Veterans Affairs (VA) banning Christian prayers at military funerals. VA, however, asserted that this claim was "blatantly false" and that VA respects a family's "rights to pray however they choose at our national cemeteries".[42][43]

Personal life

Poe and his wife Carol have four children (Kim, Kara, Kurt, and Kellee).[44]

In popular culture

Poe was interviewed about his controversial public humiliation practices while still a Texas County Judge by Jon Ronson for his 2015 book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed.[45]


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External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Turner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 2nd congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Gwen Moore
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Tom Price